Bright headphones - your recos?
Apr 1, 2022 at 12:44 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 13

fletchdirect

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Hi, I have a few different headphones but not enjoying any of these at the moment.
I am after a very transparent, bright balance, where the bass is deep yet tight, with the best clarity this sort of budget can give me. The problem is with my current headphones - they are either too bass light and warm (Sony MDR 850) or feel like you have bass bins from a nightclub strapped to your head (Sony MDR 7506). My Samson SR850s are somewhere in between but just a dull listen really. I have a slight hearing defect where the top end is a bit rolled off, so am looking for some with plenty of treble and quite bright to save me having to turn up the treble the full way!
Budget £100-200.
Is something like Sennheiser 600s or 650s untimately what is going to be the solution here, maybe second hand?
Any advice greatly appreciated. I would be using my Kenwood L1000C pre amp which has a very powerful headphone output and seems to be a good unit.
Many thanks, Julian
 
Apr 1, 2022 at 1:44 PM Post #2 of 13

msing539

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Something like a Beyer DT990 or some Grados. I don't think a Sennheiser will fit what you're looking for.
 
Apr 3, 2022 at 12:24 AM Post #3 of 13

Starbound

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Hi, I have a few different headphones but not enjoying any of these at the moment.
I am after a very transparent, bright balance, where the bass is deep yet tight, with the best clarity this sort of budget can give me. The problem is with my current headphones - they are either too bass light and warm (Sony MDR 850) or feel like you have bass bins from a nightclub strapped to your head (Sony MDR 7506). My Samson SR850s are somewhere in between but just a dull listen really. I have a slight hearing defect where the top end is a bit rolled off, so am looking for some with plenty of treble and quite bright to save me having to turn up the treble the full way!
Budget £100-200.
Is something like Sennheiser 600s or 650s untimately what is going to be the solution here, maybe second hand?
Any advice greatly appreciated. I would be using my Kenwood L1000C pre amp which has a very powerful headphone output and seems to be a good unit.
Many thanks, Julian
Hi there Julian, welcome to Head-Fi!

I also think I have a slight roll off the highs, but probably just a normal amount due to age (adult males start losing high frequency hearing very early). And I also prefer slightly bright (but not grating) headphones. Neutral bright, and natural tone would be a better way to describe it.

I need to disagree with the previous advice from msing539, the Beyer DT990 is too grating and shrill on the high frequencies.

I also have the MDR-7506, but I don't like it (unrefined in the bass, and too sharp in the treble also).

Some of the best bright headphones (not shrill) are actually the older Sennheiser cans. For example, the HD535, HD545, and HD565 line. The best of them all is even a little older than that, the HD540. You can get all of these used and in good condition within your budget. The cheapest might be the HD535, but it is supposed to be excellent. I just received one of these last week, but I haven't tested it yet. I can vouch for the HD540 though, of which I have multiple units. It is a neutral, slightly bright, headphone, with a very detailed and airy treble. Many people consider these to be even better than HD800 in many aspects, and I can vouch for their superiority to the HD600 which I also own. There is a huge thread in this site dedicated to the HD 540, it is usually in the first or second page of this forum.

Another option would be something like an AKG240DF. You want to probably avoid any other AKG 240 models, though. The DF is the brightest one. The DF stands for "Diffuse Field", and old German standard that predates the Harman Curve and which makes for a brighter sound with great soundstage.

I hope that helps and that you find something that you enjoy!
 
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Apr 3, 2022 at 12:40 AM Post #4 of 13

DigitalJust

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You may want to check out the sennheiser hd560s. It goes a little lower than a hd 650 and is a bright headphone. More controlled low end then your sony 7506.

Screenshot_20220402-233609_Chrome.jpg
 
Apr 3, 2022 at 4:00 AM Post #5 of 13

zimsa

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Another one for a Beyerdynamic here. I use both the dt880 and dt990. I never understood why people say the dt990 is bright. But I think there are a number or reasons. The first one is that some people don't give them enough time. I don't believe so much in burn in but the response changes when the pads mould to your head. Also your brain itself plays a big role because you adjust to it. The second is because the use poor or insurfcient amplification. My personal experience is that many chip amps such as the topping l30 are simply too anemic and lacking ooomph. On top with age sensitivity to higher frequencies reduces. So bottom line. Use the right amp and give them at least a couple of weeks. If needed you can use a bit of eq. But it shouldn't really be needed. The will reward.
 
Apr 3, 2022 at 2:47 PM Post #7 of 13

CJG888

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Very, very simple. Get some Beyer DT-880s.
 
Apr 3, 2022 at 3:30 PM Post #8 of 13

zimsa

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Another idea is the philips x2hr. I am listening to mine now. Like having 2 full range speakers strapped to my head. Great bass but with clear treble too. Here in Germany it is really great value at 95 euros too.
 
Apr 3, 2022 at 3:41 PM Post #10 of 13

CJG888

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The L-1000c is a good preamp, reasonably overbuilt. More in the tradition of the 70s than the 80s….

If you go for the 250 Ohm 880s, you should have no problem driving them.
 
Apr 3, 2022 at 3:42 PM Post #11 of 13

CJG888

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And later, you can always get something like an Xduoo TA-26!
 
Apr 3, 2022 at 3:43 PM Post #12 of 13

CJG888

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You may even be able to jump straight to the 600 Ohm version. Biggest bargain in head-fi…

IMHO!
 
Apr 6, 2022 at 7:18 PM Post #13 of 13

bagwell359

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Hi there Julian, welcome to Head-Fi!

I also think I have a slight roll off the highs, but probably just a normal amount due to age (adult males start losing high frequency hearing very early). And I also prefer slightly bright (but not grating) headphones. Neutral bright, and natural tone would be a better way to describe it.

I need to disagree with the previous advice from msing539, the Beyer DT990 is too grating and shrill on the high frequencies.

I also have the MDR-7506, but I don't like it (unrefined in the bass, and too sharp in the treble also).

Some of the best bright headphones (not shrill) are actually the older Sennheiser cans. For example, the HD535, HD545, and HD565 line. The best of them all is even a little older than that, the HD540. You can get all of these used and in good condition within your budget. The cheapest might be the HD535, but it is supposed to be excellent. I just received one of these last week, but I haven't tested it yet. I can vouch for the HD540 though, of which I have multiple units. It is a neutral, slightly bright, headphone, with a very detailed and airy treble. Many people consider these to be even better than HD800 in many aspects, and I can vouch for their superiority to the HD600 which I also own. There is a huge thread in this site dedicated to the HD 540, it is usually in the first or second page of this forum.

Another option would be something like an AKG240DF. You want to probably avoid any other AKG 240 models, though. The DF is the brightest one. The DF stands for "Diffuse Field", and old German standard that predates the Harman Curve and which makes for a brighter sound with great soundstage.

I hope that helps and that you find something that you enjoy!
Agree on the DT990 advice. And I'll add 880 as well I think our new member would like HFM's. Good->Execellent bass, transparent/lively treble. Sundara current model would work. I find the HD 600/650 don't blossom on SS amps only OTL - out of price range for this question.

Old Senns like 598 don't have muscular enough bass.
 
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